Children Of The Sun features a new translation by Australian playwright Andrew Upton, who previously collaborated with Davies on The Cherry Orchard, Philistines and Olivier Award-winning The White Guard.
Gorky's dark satire is set in early 20th century Russia on the verge of revolution. The self-obsessed yet strangely warm and likeable Pavel Protasov performs chemical experiments in his home, trying to perfect mankind, completely oblivious to the advances of a lonely widow, his frustrated wife, and a superstitious mob. Although Liza, Protasov’s Sister, has a paralyzing fear of life that makes her reject a persistent suitor, she is the only character with an almost an authorial voice. When Protasov dreams of a distant future in which poverty and illnesses are eradicated, Liza asks "But at what daily, hourly, soul-destroying, inhuman, crushing cost?”
Charles Spencer from the Daily Telegraph said “The latest in Howard Davies's series of Russian dramas feels like the work of a master, the ensemble acting is superb and there's no mistaking the energy in Upton's new translation”. The Independents Paul Taylor rated the spectacle "A richly rewarding evening with a literally explosive climax".
Davies's explosive stage production precisely creates the contradictions of a work in which people are absurd without being ridiculous. Geoffrey Streatfeild as Protasov follows a basic rule of acting by playing the character from his own point of view, as a man who believes his visionary experiments justify his unworldliness and in doing so becomes believable.
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Russell Adam Webb